Macaroni and cheese, please! That’s what I hear from many of my clients.

This comfort food tops the charts a favorite; unfortunately, traditional recipes don’t make the cut for being balanced.

Read what I mean by balanced eating.

Not to fear cheese lovers; you don’t have to forgo your favorite food altogether. Since so many of my clients want to include this creamy comfort food on their meal rotation, I created a version that I can comfortably recommend. That means it is flavorful, easy to make, and balanced in all 3 macronutrients- carbohydrates, protein and fats, while providing loads of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Enjoy your favorite recipe on occasion, and include this protein-packed version any time you choose.

Protein-Packed-Macaroni and Cheese

Author: Heather Mangieri, RDN


  • 8 cups Water
  • 16 oz Box of Cellentani Pasta
  • 1 cup Skim Milk
  • 1 tbsp Corn Starch
  • 2 cups 2% Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
  • 3 cups Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 4 1/2 cups Frozen Broccoli
  • 1/3 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper


  • Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F
    In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the Cellentani (or pasta of your choice) and boil until firm
    Drain the macaroni and return it to the pan.
    Put the cottage cheese in a Cuisinart and blend until completely pureed. Add 1 cup milk, 1 tbsp. corn starch and black pepper, then continue mixing. Pour this into the macaroni. Stir well.
    Add the 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese and continue to stir over medium-low heat until completely melted.
    Transfer the macaroni to a 9 X13 baking pan
    Melt the butter and mix it into the bread crumbs. Crumble topping over the macaroni and transfer to the oven.
    Bake 5-8 minutes until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the cheese bubbles.
    Recipe Makes: 10 Servings                 Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
    Pairing Recommendation: This recipe is made to include everything you need for the meal. Add color by serving with a side of carrots, a small dark-green leafy salad or other colorful non-starchy vegetable.


Nutrition Facts (per serving)- 400 calories, 44 grams’ carbohydrates, 2 grams’ fiber, 21 grams’ protein, 16 grams’ fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium, 30% daily calcium, 6% daily iron, 6% daily potassium

If you try this recipe, let us know what you think. Leave a comment below, or share a picture of your finished product and tag #HeatherMangieri so we know how you liked it.



Nutrition CheckUp Meal Planning Serving:  3 CHO; 3 PRO; 3 FAT